The Sun Protection Tips You Need To Know To Keep Dark Skin Safe

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For beautifully melanated women, getting sunburnt isn't much of a stressor. But just because they don't always experience painful skin reddening does not mean they are exempt from sun damage. For years, there's been a misconception that darker complexions don't need to practice sun safety. In fact, sun protection products often look pasty on darker skin, meaning they don't often fully blend into the skin and leave a cast. Who wants that?

The truth is that darker, more melanated skin has a natural sun protector factor but only up to SPF 13, which still leaves areas of the skin unprotected (via WebMD). Unfortunately, due to the miseducation surrounding sunscreen, those with darker skin are more likely to die from skin cancer because of the long-held belief that they are immune from skin diseases. People of all skin tones need to practice sun protection, including those with melanated skin. Here are the tips you need to know to keep your deep complexion healthy and protected.

Get in the habit of putting it on

According to a 2020 Consumer Reports study, 61% of African Americans and 23% of Hispanic Americans report never wearing sunscreen. So, again, even though melanated skin provides some protection against UV rays, it is still very little compared to the damage that harsh sun rays can cause. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, everyone, despite their skin tone, should wear a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen of at least SPF 30. The sunscreen must be broad-spectrum to protect against both UVA and UVB rays, which can harm all skin types.

Make it the final step in your skincare routine

Sunscreen is a vital part of a proper skincare routine, and you're hopefully looking into implementing it by now. That means it's not just for pool or beach days but should rather be a daily practice in your skincare and beauty routine. However, with skincare rituals becoming increasingly complex, you're probably wondering whether you put it on after your toner, before your moisturizer, or after your oil serum. According to experts at L'Oréal Paris, your sunscreen should be put on last after your moisturizer. This way, the SPF can do its job and act as an external shield from harmful UV rays.

Opt for a moisturizer with SPF protection

As tempting as it is, avoid mixing your sunscreen and moisturizer together, as it has shown less effectiveness in prioritizing sun protection (via L'Oréal Paris). If you want to consolidate your skincare routine steps, you can always opt for a moisturizer that has SPF in its formula. For instance, music producer Pharrell Williams recently launched the wellness and skincare brand Humanrace with products created for all skin tones but prioritizing those with darker complexions. His moisturizer, Ozone Skin Protection, acts as a hydrating sunscreen meant for all-day-long wear and sheer, powerful hydration. If you're looking for a cheaper option, Neutrogena's Hydro Boost Moisturizer with SPF 50 is a great option for all skin types, promising to hydrate and protect skin instantly.

There's sunscreen made for dark-skinned girls

One of the biggest deterrents to wearing sunscreen is the pasty white cast it can leave on darker skin. For decades, sunscreen companies marketed only to lighter skin groups, leaving melanated bodies at a higher risk of skin disease. Luckily, that is changing with more and more sunscreen companies making sun protection products specifically for dark skin tones. Black Girl Sunscreen is quickly becoming a brown babe favorite, with Ulta reviewers dubbing it a "skincare essential." Glossier's Invisible Shield is also making waves, being described as "sunscreen for people who hate wearing sunscreen," referencing those of us who spent our whole lives skipping this pivotal step. The market for dark-skinned girls who want to protect their deep royal hues is ever-expanding.

You still need to protect on full glam days

So, what about the days you go full glam makeup? You should still look into protecting your skin, babe. Sunscreen must be a daily ritual if you want your melanated skin to stay juicy and plump as long as possible. Fortunately, your skin protection game can still be top-tier with a face full of makeup. Choosing a moisturizer with SPF is a great option, but you can also try a primer with protection if you plan on layering on foundation and other makeup products. 

Bobbi Brown's Primer Plus Protection has an impressive SPF level of 50 with broad-spectrum protection. Paula's Choice Skincare has a cheaper alternative in its Primer Serum, which features antioxidants and a lightweight formula to protect and prime skin. However you choose to protect your skin, know that it is vital in shielding your beautiful hues from harm. All skin needs protection, no matter the shade.